Thanksgiving Recap

Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday! It’s hard not to get excited about a holiday whose sole purpose is to get together with loved ones and eat delicious food. Although both Michael and I have missed out on big family Thanksgiving dinners the last two years, it’s still a time for us to spend a little extra effort on the meal and sit down and enjoy each other’s company. I used some tried and true recipes, and found a few new ones that are sure to stay in my arsenal for the foreseeable future (hello, cranberry waldorf salad…). Hope your Thanksgiving was as delicious as mine!

The Bird

With only the two of us, we opted for a roast chicken rather than the hassle of a turkey. (I considered branching out into other poultry options, but the price per pound for high quality meat was off putting when I have access to delicious pastured chickens for less than $3/pound). I stuck with our current favorite approach: grilled lemon, thyme, and garlic chicken. Not only is it delicious, but it’s one less pan to clean and no oven space to worry about!

The Sides

Here we kept it fairly simple, filled with fresh, delicious dishes, but trying not to go overboard.

A simple dish of roasted root vegetables (prioritizing those that were getting a little rough around the edges) – a sweet potato, some parsnips, carrots, onions, and shallot, mixed with olive oil, salt, garlic, and a little thyme.

I tried out a new recipe for a raw kale and brussels sprout salad from Bon Appetit. I had to make a few tweaks, omitting parmesan cheese and substituting baby kale for Tuscan kale (2 grocery stores on Wednesday was my limit. If it’s not at Whole Foods, it might as well not exist, right?). With the tangy, garlicky dressing offsetting the crunch and slight bitterness of the greens, this is a definite repeat, and very easy to make ahead. Plus, I got to use my new food processor’s shredding blades on the brussels; very exciting.

The real star of the show, however, was a cranberry waldorf salad from Melissa Joulwan at The Clothes Make the Girl. Based on our preferences and a desire for less sweet/desserty, more tart/crunchy, I substituted 2 celery sticks for the grapes, omitted the vanilla, and used probably 2/3 (?) of a can of chilled Aroy-D coconut cream [saved the rest for our dessert!].

When Michael took his first bite, his eyes popped wide with excitement and he said, “This needs at least 4 blog posts!” It is tart, fruity, crunchy, and creamy, all without being cloying or weird (like those mini-mallows in cool-Whip salads). We made a ginormous bowl, which is probably just enough to gorge ourselves for a few days.

No photo would do it justice. (And, I food processed things a little too long so it looked kind of “like hamburger” according to Michael.)

The Pie

As my sister reminded me via Facebook, my reputation as a good cook hinges on my pie making ability, at least according to vintage Betty Crocker:

Because Thanksgiving isn’t really complete without pumpkin pie, I adapted a recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple for our dessert. I’m too lazy and disinterested in imitation pie crusts to make the crust, so I opted to treat it as a custard. I doubled the cinnamon and omitted the arrowroot (I would consider upping the maple syrup by a tablespoon on another go) and baked my filled pie plate in a water bath for 55 minutes at 350.

To serve, I topped it with my reserved whipped coconut cream (flavored with vanilla extract and a touch of maple syrup). It had a great texture, and I loved the addition of cardamom in the spicing, but I might play around with the spicing blend a little next time until it hits my perfect pie flavors (which might be spicier than the average person’s desired pie).

Any favorite recipes to recommend? I only have 364 days to prepare for next year!

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